If you were a child of the 1980’s then it is highly unlikely you escaped the grasp of Stephen King’s ‘It’. Many of you read the vastly superior novel that King released in 1986 and will never be able remove these infamous characters from memory. Yet, it was the 1990 miniseries that caught most of my friends eyes and I know they will never forget Tim Curry as Pennywise the clown. There was just something about that movie that pulled in an entire generation and made us all collectively afraid of painted men in court jester outfits.
Now, if you are one of the lucky ones that never went back and watched the ‘It’ miniseries as an adult then I suggest you keep it that way because man is it bad. There are parts of it that work. The kids section is okay and Curry was good as Pennywise, but the acting is just piss poor. As a matter of fact, Richard Thomas’s performance as stuttering Bill Denbrough might be one of the worst I have ever had the misfortune of laying eyes on. Although, it’s my ears that suffered the most from his horribly phony stuttering dialogue.
So, despite the popularity of the original miniseries, this story couldn’t be more ripe for the retelling. And honestly, after watching this near perfect adaptation of the first half of the book, I feel like it would have been a travesty to let that crap film stand as the only depiction of this story to grace the screen. Luckily, that’s not the case anymore. Which is why every Stephen King fan can breathe a deep sigh of relief. Your beloved ‘It’ has finally come to life in the way that it always deserved and you should run out to see it twice this weekend.
Everything, from the sets, to the costumes, the score, the cinematography, the writing, the performances, and everything else you can think about, is just as it should be. The character introductions are wonderfully executed and each actor that inhabits these characters is about as perfectly cast as they could have been. This is especially the case for Jaeden Lieberher. What an actor this kid is. He gets all of Bill’s pauses and stammers down just right, but most importantly he provides a solid emotional core to this film.
If you’ve never seen or read ‘It’ before then you are in for a hell of a ride. The basics of the plot mechanics are that there’s a cursed town called Derry. In this town is a clown named Pennywise who travels through the sewer system and seems to be taking or killing children. The main characters are a group of kids that call themselves “The Losers” because they are consistently bullied at school. So, Pennywise begins targeting them one by one as the boys start to grow closer to a girl named Beverly.
This all leads to some fantastic horror scares, some big laughs, and maybe even a few tears. Which is what puts this horror flick a step above the rest. ‘It’ is not only a terrific horror film, it’s just a terrific film period. This could have just been a coming of age drama, without the horror bits, and it would have been a really good film. The horror sequences up the ante and make you grasp for the lives of these children at every turn. They say this movie is going to be the highest grossing opening weekend ever for a horror film. Luckily for audiences, it’s well worth that title.